Saturday, May 30, 2015

Packing Up

The weeks have been flying by as we have been making our final preparations. We took our bicycles to a local bike shop, who packaged them up and shipped them to a bike shop in San Francisco. We will pick them up when we arrive. We also shipped a package of our gear that we cannot take with us on the plane (tools, etc). We have slowly been marking items off of the various packing and "to-do" lists, but are in a sort of waiting period as so many things are last minute!

We have also acquired a fourth traveling companion! Josh (also known as Snowy River, who you may know if you followed the hike), and his bicycle will be meeting us in San Francisco! The bike shop where our supplies will be waiting is about three miles from the coast. We will meet at the shop, pack up, ride west to dip our tires in the Pacific, and then turn around and head east for the rest of the summer!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Next Chapter

It’s about time, isn’t it?

Here’s a summary of the past four years of my life:
-Thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail
-Moved from Ohio to Florida
-Got a “real” job
-Married Seth (Bear Bag), the man I met on the AT
-Quit the “real” job
-Got another job at a middle school, complete with holiday breaks and summer vacation
-Bought a touring bicycle

Can you tell where this is going?

Seth is now a high school teacher, and I worked for two years for the Clerk of Courts in our county. He spent two summers waiting for me to get my two weeks of vacation so we could get our adventure fix. I decided to quit my job at the end of last summer and began working in the office at a middle school. So our minds have been working…

I have a “coast to coast” dream. As much as I would love to walk across the country, a two-month summer break just isn’t enough time. Enter the bicycle.

Our chosen route is a result of our time constraint, our season of travel, and our desire to see a varied landscape. We’re going to take the Western Express, which begins in San Francisco and continues eastward through Nevada and Utah, ending in Pueblo, Colorado. We will then connect with the popular TransAmerica bicycle route in Pueblo, traveling across Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Virginia, and will end at the Atlantic Ocean near Yorktown—approximately 3800 miles.

I feel much differently about this trip than I did my thru-hike. In obvious ways, cycling is not nearly the peaceful experience as is walking through the woods. I started my hike by myself, with a few trips under my belt, and with no time limit. On this trip, I will be traveling with my husband and my father-in-law (who will start with us in California, and hopefully be with us for the long haul). I am a complete bicycle novice as I have only been riding for 3 months, and we have just 60-some days to complete 3800 miles. Traffic can be terrifying, the mountains are massive, and bike maintenance is menacing.

Still, to be able to travel through the elements, under your own willpower and physical strength, is a unique experience that cannot be elucidated. I’m anxious, but thrilled to again be setting out on a journey with a plan that is certain to be filled with unexpected detours. My desire for adventure overcomes my fear of the unknown.